Long Insurance Services of Kernersville, NC


  Contact : 336-992-5664

All posts by Monte Long

Workers Compensation

What to Know About Workers’ Compensation and Working from Home

In the midst of this pandemic, you may have found yourself among the 63 percent of Americans working from home. A recent Gartner poll predicts that 48 percent of workers will continue to work remote at least part time even when it’s safe to physically return to work again.

Of course, working from home has pros and cons. It also raises serious questions like what would happen if an employee becomes injured while performing work at home.

Workers’ compensation (often shortened to workers’ comp) laws and requirements vary by state, but generally, any business that has employees must have workers’ compensation insurance coverage. It helps cover medical care and lost wages for an employee who is hurt at work.

With many employees working from the kitchen table or the home office, it helps to know how workers’ compensation can kick in. (As always, talk to your local ERIE agent for questions about your specific policy.)

WILL WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COVER AN EMPLOYEE IF THEY GET INJURED WHILE WORKING FROM HOME?

If an employee is hurt on work premises, they’re typically covered by the employer’s workers’ compensation policy. Workers’ compensation provides coverage for injury or disease employees sustain in the course and scope of employment. It applies regardless of negligence, with workers’ compensation laws varying by state.

Most telecommuters are still covered under their employers’ workers’ compensation coverage, whether full-time remote workers or temporary due to pandemic stay-at-home orders.

“It’s important to remember that workers’ compensation insurance isn’t tied to a building,” says Leo Heintz, vice president of commercial products at ERIE. “It follows you wherever you go, subject to the policy conditions, while you’re at work.”

WHAT ARE COMMON INJURIES THAT CAN HAPPEN WHEN WORKING FROM HOME?

Common injuries telecommuting office workers experience include carpal tunnel syndrome; back sprains and strains; and slips, trips and falls. The injury or disease typically has to arise out of a work-related activity to be covered under workers’ comp.

“Injuries are possible even if you have a desk job,” Heintz said. “That’s why it’s important to practice the same good ergonomic activities at your home office as you do when at your regular office. Simple things like good posture and remembering to take time and stretch, or getting up and walking around, can make all the difference.”

Read More
Hail Damage

What to Know About Hail, Roof Damage and Common Scams

A hailstorm just blew in through your neighborhood. Suddenly, there are people at your door telling you they can repair your home’s damage quickly and easily. What would you do?

While some hail damage may be obvious, you can’t always trust that someone showing up to your door has your best interests in mind.

The size and density of a hailstone will determine the severity of damage you’ll find after a storm. While some hailstorms can cause severe damage to your car and home, others can leave little to no harm at all.

If you’ve recently battled a hailstorm, here is what you need to know about hail, roof damage, homeowners insurance and common scams.

WHAT SHOULD I DO AFTER A HAILSTORM?

When the storm has passed and it’s safe to go outside, inspect any damage that may have occurred to your car or home. The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) recommends contacting your insurance agent immediately if you suspect hail damage. Your ERIE agent knows the ins and outs of your specific policy and can help you determine whether you should file a claim to help cover the cost of repairs.

To help your agent, be sure to record the date and timeframe the storm occurred and take photos that can help support your claim.

For more hail safety tips, read our guide on what to do before, during and after a hail storm.

COMMON SIGNS OF HAIL DAMAGE

You may spot hail damage in a few different places on your property including roof, siding, windows, outdoor furniture and vehicles. Damage can look different depending on the object.

Signs of hail damage to a car:

  • Chipped or cracked windshield
  • Dents on the roof or other areas of your vehicle
  • Other dings or paint scratches

Signs of hail damage to a home:

  • Dents in gutters or outside vents
  • Chipped or cracked windows or skylights
  • Damage appearing on one side of the roof
  • “Bruises” or dark spots appear on shingles in a random pattern

While some damage can be easy to spot, you may not always be able to see the damage hail has done to your roof.

An insurance adjuster knows the difference between roof damage from hail versus regular wear and tear. We recommend letting a trained and trusted professional up on your roof to check for any potential problems.

WHAT IS HAIL FRAUD?

Having to deal with weather damage is bad enough. Unfortunately, there can also be fraudulent roofing contractors that emerge after a storm, sometimes called “storm chasers.”

They often appear quickly after a storm and claim that your roof has been seriously damaged by wind and hail. Many “storm-chasing” contractors are transient, moving around the country following recent storm activity to increase their chance of landing a sale.

The IBHS and the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) recently teamed up to offer this list of tips to spread awareness of roofing contractor fraud.

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF HAIL FRAUD?

Storm chasers may point out pre-existing damage, create their own damage, or say that there is damage when there isn’t. Here are some signs that you should think twice:

  • “Free” inspection: Someone wise once said nothing good in life is free. While reputable contractors might offer free inspections with no strings attached, be cautious that some fraudsters might use this tactic to get on your roof and point out damage that isn’t there. Worse, some might create their own damage.
  • They pressure you: Those in the con business often pressure you to make a quick decision during a difficult or stressful time. Give yourself space and time to contact your insurance agent and make the right decision.
  • The contract has blanks: Your contract should be detailed and include an estimate on cost, work schedules, payment schedules, listed contractors and more.
  • Upfront payment: While it’s reasonable for any contractor to ask for a down payment, fraudulent contractors often demand all or a large amount of the payment upfront. Sometimes, they’ll take your cash and dash after performing shoddy work – or no work at all. Trustworthy contractors will often organize a payment schedule that works best with your schedule.

If you do find damage to your roof or other areas after a storm, a trustworthy contractor will work with your insurance company to help fix the damage.

HIRING A CONTRACTOR AFTER A HAIL STORM

As you begin your search for a contractor, here are some tips:

  • Get multiple estimates. Don’t rely on a single estimate as being the one with the best price – or the best work. Do some research and get estimates from three to four different contractors.
  • Ask to see their license and proof of insurance. Make sure both are real and up to date.
  • Ask for references. Has this contractor worked on similar projects? Do their references speak highly of them?
  • Take the right steps. Hiring a contractor can be stressful, especially when you’ve discovered some recent damage from a storm. Read through our full checklist of tips to consider when hiring a contractor.

DOES MY HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE COVER HAIL DAMAGE?

The average cost for a hail damage claim can average about $15,000 – which varies based on how long the storm was, the size of the hail and the amount of damage it caused.  Generally speaking, most homeowners insurance policies cover damage from hail and wind caused by storms. Coverage can vary, however, for example, manufacturing defects that existed prior to the storm might not be covered under a hail damage claim. Check with your insurance agent about the specifics of your policy.

Uncertainty is part of life, but that’s why you have insurance. Talk to an insurance professional like your local Erie Insurance agent.They can tell you more about the options ERIE offers and help you get you a free quote customized for your home.

Read More
Severe Weather

Prepare for Hurricane Isaias

Severe WeatherHurricane Isaias is expected to travel northward, impacting North Carolina and Virginia early next week. Even if the storm center does not make landfall, it is likely to cause high winds and heavy rain along the coast and inland.

If you experience a loss related to the storm and need to file a claim, Erie Insurance and your Agent are here to help. For claims service during evenings and weekends, call (800) 367-3743.

We encourage you to stay off the roads during heavy rains and follow these tips to reduce damage and stay safe:

• Bring in garbage cans, lawn furniture, bikes, toys, hanging plants and lawn decorations. If possible, remove the swings on your child’s swing set to prevent unnecessary damage.

• Move furnishings and valuables to the highest point in your house.

• Keep a supply of flashlights and extra batteries handy in case of loss of power. Avoid open flames, such as candles and kerosene lamps, as a source of light.

• If you lose power, turn off all major appliances to avoid a power surge when the power is turned back on.

• Do not drive or walk through standing water. Water can be deeper than it appears, and two feet of water can sweep away most cars and six inches of moving water can sweep you away when walking.

Read More
Erie - COVID-19

8 Things ERIE is Doing During COVID-19

When Erie Insurance opened for business in 1925, our co-founder H.O. Hirt inspired us with his motto: Never lose the human touch.

Well… these days, the “human touch” looks a lot different. But that spirit is still alive in us at ERIE, where we’re still here for you and the communities we serve.

Check our COVID-19 Information Center for the latest news and announcements. For questions about your specific policy, review our COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions.

In case you missed it: Here’s a recap of what we’re doing to help.

HOW IS ERIE INSURANCE HELPING CUSTOMERS DURING THE CORONAVIRUS?

We’re providing financial relief, flexible payment options, community support and more. Here’s what to know.

  1. Customer dividends, mailed directly to you in May: Most people are doing the right thing by staying home and not driving. We’re following suit by doing the right thing, too. ERIE is providing $200 million in dividends directly to our personal and commercial auto insurance customers, pending regulatory approval. This immediate relief represents about 30% of related auto insurance premiums over a two-month period, or 5% of your annual premium. There’s no need to call your ERIE agent or request a check – it will be mailed directly to you. Learn more about our customer dividends, announced April 21, 2020.
  2. Lower auto insurance rates for long-term relief: In addition to the dividends mentioned above, we’re lowering auto insurance rates for personal and commercial customers for long-term, steady and stable relief. Pending regulatory approval, rate reductions will vary by state and will be based on individually purchased policies and coverage options. Once approved, premium adjustments will take effect at the time of renewal and the estimated total will provide an additional $200 million in financial relief to ERIE customers. Learn more about our rate reductions, announced April 9, 2020.
  3. Flexible payment and billing options: Your local agent can help you with updating coverages. Agents and ERIE’s Customer Care teams may also be able to assist with delaying payment dates, adjusting installments, changing pay plans and waiving penalties and fees. In addition, some billing requests including deferring payments and nonpay cancellations can also be requested through erieinsurance.com/help or through your ERIE Online Account.
  4. Contact-free life insurance coverage: For a limited time, Erie Family Life is offering applicants a path to life insurance coverage without the requirement of a paramedical exam. The option to waive the exam is aligned with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance to maintain social distancing and prevent the spread of COVID-19. The waiver provides Erie Insurance customers the ability to obtain life insurance without in-person interaction. The offer is available for applicants up to age 55 and policy face amounts up to $500,000. Learn more about the paramedical exam waiver, announced March 24, 2020.
  5. Expanding identity recovery services to extended family members living elsewhere: Social distancing directives result in many people staying connected virtually, which may result in increased exposure to cybercrime. ERIE offers identity recovery coverage with all ErieSecure Home® bundles and as an add-on to our Home Protector policies. Through August 2020, we’re extending support services to assist in recovering from a possible identity theft at no additional cost to include our customers’ extended family members, including those not residing with the policyholder. This includes:
    • Adult children (26 or older), their spouse and their children
    • Parents, including stepparents and legally adoptive parents
    • Siblings, including step-siblings and adoptive siblings
  6. Gift card reimbursement coverage: From your favorite lunch spot to that funky art gallery, our local small businesses make our hometowns feel like home. We rely on them daily – and now, they need us. So go ahead and stock up on gift cards, worry-free. Pending regulatory approval in several states, Erie Insurance is adding gift card and gift certificate reimbursement coverage to the company’s ErieSecure Home® policies. The additional feature, included at no additional cost, would reimburse customers for remaining balances on gift cards that can no longer be used at independently owned and operated local businesses due to business closures.Learn more about our gift card coverage, announced April 16, 2020.
  7. Giving back to our hometown: Erie Insurance provided a lead gift to support the Erie Community Foundation’s new COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund recently established in our home city of Erie, Pennsylvania. This fund will directly support 501(c)(3) organizations in Erie County, Pennsylvania that are providing support to those in need, administering care for children, serving elderly populations who are most vulnerable and helping those suffering hardships and job loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  8. Giving back to our agents and all the communities we serve: Our agents and employees are stepping up to thank first responders, healthcare workers and others on the front lines. To boost that, we’re making nearly $2.5 million available to agents and branch offices to support their charitable work in local communities.

For 95 years, we’ve been standing by our customers in times of hardship and catastrophe. These times are unprecedented, but our mission hasn’t changed. From 1925 to today, our mission to “do the right thing” still drives every decision we make.

Read More
COVID-19

Support Your Local Businesses Right Now

COVID-19Even when we’re told to maintain social distance, we need each other more than ever.

As the news of the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues, it’s essential to follow public health guidance from experts such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and your local government to keep your distance and slow the spread. (Read more about how ERIE and our local agents are maintaining our commitment to serving you in our message on COVID-19.)

Beyond the health impacts, though, there’s also a community impact. Right now, things might feel lonely or uncertain – even scary. And that’s especially true for small business owners – in particular, those that have been instructed to close their doors.

From your favorite lunch spot to that funky art gallery, our local small businesses are a beloved part of what make our hometowns feel like home. We rely on them daily – and now, they need us. If you’ve got a little extra to spare in these uncertain times, here’s how you can help out your local small businesses.

HOW TO SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESSES DURING THE CORONAVIRUS

  1. Buy local whenever you can. When it comes time to stock up on pantry staples, think about supporting that mom-and-pop shop first. The American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) has fascinating data about how locally owned businesses generate larger “local economic multipliers.” Your support might make a bigger impact than you think.
  2. Order takeout or delivery from your favorite local restaurants. Extra perk: No dishes.
  3. Buy gift cards or gift certificates. Many places accept contact-free payment online or over the phone. Stock up now and treat yourself to a night on the town when this all blows over. For places you rely on regularly – for example, your hair salon – buy an extra service or two now if you can, since you know for sure you’ll use it in the months ahead.
  4. Buy gifts for friends or family. Is it crazy to think about starting your holiday shopping in the spring? You’ll thank yourself later – and, hey, it’s something to pass the time! (Read our list of tips for safe online holiday shopping.)
  5. Leave a generous tip. With lower customer volume, servers and bartenders might be making less than usual. If you have it to spare, throw a few extra dollars their way. (And don’t forget to tip the delivery driver!)
  6. Buy merch or other gear. We get it – you can only order so much takeout, especially if you’re not getting your usual number of steps in. Think about buying a coffee mug, T-shirt or ball cap to show some local love. Buying merch can especially help touring musicians, who might have had to cancel shows in the interest of public health.
  7. Tune in to live streams. With bars, restaurants, and other gathering spaces closed, gig workers like musicians might be out of work. Show your support with a like and comment on your favorite local band’s livestream. (And if they have a digital tip jar, send a few dollars there just like you would at the corner bar.)
  8. Take an online class. Personal trainers, yoga instructors, and fitness pros might be out of work, too – and we all know it’s important to keep moving when you’re stuck at home. See who’s streaming and consider throwing them a digital tip as a thank-you. (Laundry piling up? Read our list of 7 must-know hacks to clean fitness gear.)
  9. Buy some cool art. Websites like Etsy make it easy to search by location and find artists in your community – and you might be going stir-crazy to freshen up your space, anyhow. Some local artists might be doing “draw-alongs” or other livestreams. Add them to the list of folks who would appreciate a digital tip, too. (Keeping the kiddos occupied with art projects of their own? Read our list of 5 stylish ways to display children’s artwork.)
  10. Leave a positive review. If you’re short on cash, boosting a local place’s reputation is worth its weight in gold. While you’re at home, type up a couple good comments for your favorite spots to leave on social media or search engines. (Get other ideas to pass the time in our list of 21 ways to beat cabin fever.)
  11. Check with your local chamber of commerce or small business association. Local groups might be planning events, discounts, or promotions unique to your area. Get connected and see what’s happening in your neighborhood.
  12. Pay it forward. If you’re fortunate to have some steady cash flow right now, remember that others might not. Consider treating the next person in line behind you – or making a donation to a charity that helps the less fortunate in your community.
Read More
Prevent Frozen Pipes

How To Prevent Frozen Pipes

Frozen PipesFrigid winter temperatures can cause pipes to freeze – or even burst. Do you know how to tell if pipes are frozen? We’ve pulled together tips to help prevent frozen pipes and a list of suggestions for you to follow if they do freeze.

Pro tip: Know ahead of time how your homeowners insurance can kick in to help repair damage from a frozen and burst water pipe. Not sure if you’re covered? Talk to a local ERIE agent to find out.

SYMPTOMS OF FROZEN PIPES

One of the earliest signs of a frozen pipe is when no water comes out of your faucet when you turn it on. If you notice that, head first to the basement and check to see that the water is still turned on and that you don’t have a leak. Once you’ve confirmed these two things, continue your inspection to make sure one of your pipes has not burst. If your search reveals that your pipes are frozen but none have ruptured, you have two choices:

  • Call a plumber to help thaw your frozen pipes. Most times, this is a better idea if you don’t think you can safely thaw the pipes yourself, you don’t know where the frozen pipes are or you can’t access the frozen area.
  • Attempt to thaw the frozen pipes yourself. Be aware this option can be dangerous if not done correctly.

HOW TO FIX FROZEN PIPES

If you’re not an experienced DIY-er, it’s safer to defer this one to a professional. However, there are fast fixes you can try if you’re experienced with home maintenance work. If you attempt to thaw the frozen pipes yourself, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Keep your faucet open. Water and steam will be created during the thawing process, and your pipes need an opening to discharge this. Keeping the faucet open also allows for moving water to run through the pipe, which will expedite the thawing process.
  • Apply heat to the section of the pipe that is frozen. This can be done by wrapping an electronic heating pad around the pipe, heating the area with a hair dryer or both. If you lack either of these items, using towels soaked in hot water will help as well.  Remember, this is a temporary fix and the heating pad should not be left unattended to prevent a fire.
  • Know what not to do. Never use a blowtorch, propane or kerosene heaters, a charcoal stove or any other open flame device to thaw your frozen pipes. That presents a severe fire hazard. You should also avoid using a space heater unless you are sure the area is clear of any flammable material. Again, never leave the space heater unattended.
  • Continue applying heat until water flow returns to normal. Once you have successfully thawed the pipe, turn on other faucets in your home to check for any more frozen water pipes.
  • Take swift action if the frozen pipes are located inside an exterior wall. This is a serious situation when you should call a professional contractor, as repairs may involve cutting a hole in the wall toward the inside of the house to expose those pipes to warmer air.

HOW TO PREVENT FROZEN PIPES

While we can’t control the weather, there are things we can do to prevent pipes from freezing. To prevent pipes from freezing and causing major damage, follow these steps:

  • Drain water from pipes that are likely to freeze. This includes your swimming pool and sprinkler water supply lines.
  • Disconnect any hoses from the outside of your home, drain the hoses and store them in the garage. Make sure to close the indoor valves supplying these outdoor access points.
  • Insulate the area around vents and light fixtures. This helps prevent heat from escaping into the attic.
  • Seal any wall cracks. Be sure to pay careful attention to the areas around utility service lines.
  • Open kitchen cabinets. This allows the warm air to circulate around the pipes.
  • Keep the garage doors closed to protect water lines.
  • Allow your faucets to drip cold water on the coldest days. The movement will make it harder for the water to freeze.
  • Keep your thermostat at the same temperature day and night. Never let it fall below 55 degrees Fahrenheit when you leave your home.
  • Ensure you have proper seals on all doors and windows.
  • Place a 60-watt bulb in areas where you’re concerned about pipes freezing. Make sure there are no combustible materials near the bulb.

PROTECTION FROM FROZEN WATER PIPES

Frozen water pipes and the damage they can cause are a reality for thousands of people each year. That’s especially the case when you are at below freezing temperatures for an extended period of time.

The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety says a burst pipe can cause more than $5,000 in water damage. That’s because the damage can be extensive.

“We see about 2,000 claims per day during an average January winter,” says Chris Zimmer, senior vice president of claims for Erie Insurance. “A number of them are due to frozen water pipes.”

Read More
Font Resize